Don’t Burn Out Your Star Employees

It’s pretty easy to figure out what to do with your bad employees. Get rid of them! But what do you do with your top-notch employees?

Overworked cartoonYes, you have to develop them into leaders, but that sounds too abstract for some supervisors. In the “here and now,” you’ll probably make those select employees your go-to people for everything. Besides, they’re so reliable—how could you not?

Sounds good on the surface until the tasks start piling up for those employees, and their work hours start getting longer to get everything accomplished.

Not to mention the message it’s sending out to your mediocre employees. (Didn’t think of that, huh?)

If your default solution is to give everything to your high-performing employees, average employees may see it as a reason not to raise the bar, fearing that they may also become bogged down with work. Besides, in today’s workplace, the odds are pretty high that those top performers don’t get paid that much more, so workers who “just get by” become even more unmotivated.

Leaders don’t take the easy way out. If you have employees who are struggling with a task they are capable of doing, encourage and coach them through it. It takes more time; but the reward will be having a solid team as a whole—not just a solid top tier. And if certain employees aren’t capable of doing the tasks they were hired to do, why are they still part of your organization?

Just like a sprinter can’t run at top speeds for a long distance, your top tier can’t operate on overdrive for too long without losing stamina and enthusiasm.

Be mindful not to burn out your star employees with the workload you place on them. Otherwise, their loyalty to your organization may start to dim—ultimately causing them to leave.

Hope Boyd
Written by:
Hope Boyd
Director of Communications, Strategic Government Resources

4 responses

  1. If only those who would suck the life out employees would read this article….I think sometimes they do it without even knowing it because the “star” employee is usually willing, to a fault, to go the extra mile and “get the job done.” Gives leaders/supervisors pause though to really think about adding that extra task/assignment/responsibility.

    1. “Willing to a fault” is exactly right, Enna! A good leader will know how to resist the urge to abuse that trait, though.

      Thanks (as always) for your insight. 🙂

  2. It is so easy to burn out your key employees without trying. Too often we overburden the good ones because we don’t want to face the less productive employees. We also shy away from confronting them because they may be good people, just not good employees.

    It is lonely at the top, but the pay is better. We have to take a stand and see what kind of person we will be. I have heard it said that there are three kinds of people; those that “watch it happen” those that “make it happen” and those that “wonder what happened!”

    At the end of the day, where do stand!

    1. Wow! Great feedback, Charles. And you’re so right. Thanks!

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